Raider Leilua out to prove his worth
New Raiders recruit Joey Leilua said he is out to prove he deserves a spot in coach Ricky Stuart's team after making a mid-season move to Canberra on Wednesday.
Leilua said he was excited to arrive in the nation's capital despite Stuart already telling him he wouldn't be facing the Cowboys this weekend, to allow the 23-year-old to adapt to his new surroundings.
With Edrick Lee or Jordan Rapana in the firing line for Leilua's inevitable promotion to Canberra's first grade team, he went on to add he's chasing much-needed stability on and off the field.
"Any team I play for I like to show them that I'm ready and able to do my best out on the field and make sure I earn that spot in the team. I don't know what the club wants from me yet but I know what I can do and hopefully I can show that on the field for this team and take my performances to another level," Leilua said.
"For me it's a matter of getting my footy back on track and find a bit of stability in my life. I think Ricky is a good coach for that. I like him as a coach and he tells you things straight up which I like. If you're not playing well, he'll tell you and if you are then he'll acknowledge you."
While his Newcastle release depended on Leilua not being available for selection when the two clubs face off in Round 18, the utility back didn't hold back from describing his discontent at the Knights.
"Ricky said he really wanted me to go down and play for him which really encouraged me to get that early release and play for the Raiders, but it was more from the Newcastle end which made me really want to leave," Leilua said.
"They were a bit indecisive about whether I was going to play in Round 1 or not and that threw me off the club. I said I'd be ready and they still weren't sure. It definitely pushed the case about me coming to Canberra. Then obviously Ricky saw something in me so I was happy to get the release."
Leilua seemed shocked about his unofficial welcoming committee too as he described his first impressions of Canberra.
"The people are lovely," Leilua said. "I was just driving before and a kid screamed out my name and I couldn't believe it so I'll take it as a nice welcome. I'm happy [with my decision] so far for sure."